This interdisciplinary sculpture, performance and video project explores the entanglement of nature and society on the Kennebec River in Maine. In this piece, I sought the guidance of others who held particular knowledge of the river, and traveled with these “Project Guides” for a day in a boat I built for this purpose. Project Guides held different perspectives on the river, and included a campground owner, an historian, an octogenarian environmental activist and fisherman, one of the state's only woman Registered Maine Guides, a philosopher, a fiddler, and a literature scholar. The collaborative and contextual methodology was employed to challenge the modernist idea of the artist as a solo agent of invention and action, and to challenge the individualistic basis of American human/nature relations.
The project title is inspired by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus' observation that one "cannot step in the same river twice." That is, one’s understanding of a place is an accumulation of contingencies—the perspectives of the people there, the shifting nature of the site’s ecosystemic and physical properties, and the method of interacting with it.
All images and text copyright 2006-2023 Gina Siepel. All rights reserved.